This is how long to boil chicken legs to tender, then how to crisp chicken skin best! Either fresh or boiled frozen chicken legs are great.
Boiled chicken legs come out great, and we will share how to get them crispy when done too if you want. Earlier this week we shared how long to boil a whole chicken which is great, but if you only want drumsticks this comes in handy. (affiliate links present)
How Long Does it Take to Boil Chicken Legs
About 20 minutes unless you have frozen drumsticks, we will go over that as well below. Not a huge difference between the two except for a few more minutes. The outcome is the same. You’ll get fall off the bone fork tender meat that you can enjoy as is, shred, or crisp the skin.
Want to make an entire meal on the stovetop? This is how to boil broccoli which makes a great duo. You can brush with your favorite sauce at the end or as we do often, pull the protein off of the bone and make chicken tacos for dinner. So. Easy.
Can you boil frozen chicken pieces too? Yes you can do so with any of them or the whole bird if you wanted to as well.
How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken Legs
The general rule is that it will take about 20 minutes for fresh or after you defrost chicken in microwave. If right out of your freezer and still rock hard it will take closer to 30 minutes, still pretty quick. For both you will need the same other items; a large pot, water or broth and seasonings of your choice.
For a really fast method we explain chicken in pressure cooker how long it takes for each cut, as well as recipes you can make at the end with the meat.
Boiled Chicken Legs
I will say that it turns out best when the water is boiling (even slightly) before you add the drumsticks. If you instead put them into the cool water the skin will get really icky. It is like waiting for your oven to preheat before baking your food. Just. Works. Better.
- Fill pot of chicken broth or water to cover all your pieces, heat on your stovetop over medium high heat until it reaches a rolling boil that does not stop.
- Carefully add raw chicken drumsticks with tongs and boil for 20 minutes cooking time for thawed or 28 minutes if they are frozen until they are cooked thru. to a safe internal temp of 165 F.
- If you are air frying at the end you can remove a bit earlier, at 160 F because they will continue cooking in that machine.
- Remove boiled chicken drumsticks with tongs and set on a few paper towels to absorb the excess water. Enjoy juicy chicken as is at this point.
If you want to get crispy chicken legs skin we have a few choices to do so below. There is a full and printable recipe card with step by step instructions below for you to keep on hand too. The best method is to brush on a sauce and then air fry like we did with our mustard chicken legs here.
Chicken Leg Boil
Now if you are using just legs to make our homemade chicken noodle soup you wouldn’t need to proceed with the crisping instructions. I mean all you would do is use a fork or knife to remove the meat and put it into the pot, then discard the bones.
In the case that this is your main dish you will likely want to make the outside more appealing than what you see here, we will help you do just that by following the additional instructions below.
If you have baked or boiled your chicken but want crispy skin I would highly suggest using a Ninja Foodi or other brand to do so. It just takes 6-8 minutes to do so and takes your meal to a whole new level.
Brushing sauce on the outside before air frying cooked chicken is even better as it will caramelize on the outside and give it moisture and tons of flavor.
You would basically follow these same instructions for anything submerged in water. Same goes for our boiled turkey necks but typically we just pull the meat off the bone and use those for gravy.
How to crisp chicken skin in air fryer
If you want to add a sauce do so with some teriyaki, bbq, or better yet whisk together the sauce ingredients listed in the recipe card below in a bowl.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes while you prepare this.
- Place a few more paper towels on the top and carefully press down to remove moisture from outside of skin (they will be hot).
- Remove from paper towels and lay on a plate. Brush and cover the chicken pieces with your mayonnaise sauce (or your choice) all over the outside of each piece so they are nicely coated.
- Spray inside of basket with non stick spray. Lay legs inside without overlapping.
- Air fry at 400 degrees F for about 6 – 8 minutes.
- flip over halfway thru or until they are nicely browned as you’d like and crispy.
- Use meat thermometer to check that they reached 165 degrees F in thickest portion of drumsticks. Remove and enjoy.
- Baked chicken legs in the oven on broil setting for 2-3 will work too.
If you have more than one machine, or a dual zone I would suggest throwing in some air fryer homemade french fries or potato wedges in air fryer as a side dish.
Air Fried Boiled Chicken Legs
How long to boil chicken thighs now you might ask, well we have answered that for you too. Not a huge difference between the two for bone-in.
And there you have it my friends. If you do want to make leftover chicken recipes with the meat when done there are a ton on our site. Tossed with more sauce and served over a bed of rice is a great low fat choice. You can dice up and throw it into any sort of casserole you love. Just make sure you save it properly so it doesn’t dry out.
How do you store leftover chicken drumsticks
Just like almost every other protein, I think freezer bags are better than containers with lids. Reason being is that you want to get all the air surrounding your meat to go away. You can suck it out easily with bags and seal tightly. Do this when they have cooled completely and store in the fridge for up to 4 days max.
Best way to reheat chicken in air fryer is to add more sauce to the outside first. Alternatively you can just spray with olive oil and some additional seasonings for less calories. Personally I go the route of sacue since it is thicker and makes moist again. Flip every few minutes ideally and in just a few minutes you’ll have a second meal to enjoy again.
Ok I think I have covered it all. If you have additional questions just leave them below and I will do my best to answer those as well. I hope you enjoy this one and others we have coming in the near future. They will be published on my social media channels and weekly newsletter too.
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How Long to Boil Chicken Legs
- 8-10 chicken legs medium size
- Sauce for crisping skin
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Heat a pot of water on stovetop over medium high heat until it reaches a rolling boil that does not stop.
- Carefully add drumsticks with tongs and boil for 20 minutes for thawed or 28 minutes if they are frozen until they are cooked thru. to a safe internal temp of 165 F. (if you are air frying at the end you can remove a bit earlier, at 160 F because they will continue cooking in that machine)
- Remove with tongs and set on a few paper towels to absorb the excess water. Enjoy or if you want to crisp skin follow below instructions now.
- * To crisp chicken skin at this point, whisk together the sauce ingredients listed above in a bowl. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes while you prepare these.
- Place a few more paper towels on the top and carefully press down to remove moisture from outside of skin (will be hot).
- Remove from paper towels and lay on a plate. Brush mayonnaise sauce all over the outside of each piece so they are nicely coated.
- Spray inside of air fryer basket with non stick spray. Lay legs inside without overlapping. Air fry at 400 degrees F for about 6 – 8 minutes, flipping over halfway thru or until they are nicely browned as you'd like and crispy.
- Check to ensure they reached 165 F in thickest portion of drumsticks. Remove and enjoy. ** In oven set to broil and set on baking sheet lined with non stick foil, brush sauce on or just sprinkle with seasonings after dried and spray with olive oil. Broil for 3 minutes or until browned.